HULL KR playmaker Danny McGuire has spoken publicly for the first time about his blood clot worry and how he sought advice from former Leeds Rhinos colleague Ben Jones-Bishop about the potentially life-threatening condition.
Veteran half-back McGuire made his comeback after two months on the sidelines during last week’s impressive 37-10 win over Huddersfield Giants and he hopes to back that up with another victory against Salford City Reds tomorrow.
However, it was in May that the player discovered the concerning problem in his leg that led to an extended spell out of action.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, McGuire explained: “It was pretty frustrating to be honest.
“I just thought I’d got a bang on my calf and just carried on my normal routine but then it got to the point where I had to have a few weeks out.
“I was on blood-thinning tablets which was pretty scary for a few weeks there but I’m really pleased to be back now.”
Wakefield Trinity winger Jones-Bishop was out for six months when a blood clot was discovered on his lung in 2012, not long after scoring in Leeds’s Grand Final win over Warrington alongside McGuire.
He said: “I messaged Bish about that. Mine was a deep vein in my calf so it wasn’t in a main vein.
“But it’s when it travels up into your lungs that’s obviously where you have to be a bit more careful.
“With mine being only in my calf, that’s why I was able to get the tablets just for six weeks. Normally it’s three months.
It got to the point where I had to have a few weeks out. I was on blood-thinning tablets which was pretty scary for a few weeks there but I’m really pleased to be back now.Danny McGuire
“Bish was six months in the end. He felt alright once he started taking the tablets and I was the same.
“Within two weeks of taking the tablets I felt I could play again but you can’t take any contact on your body until you get the all-clear.
“I was fine last week, though, and I’m looking forward to Sunday now.”
It is no surprise the 35-year-old is keen to get back into action.
Aside from his most recent lay-off, McGuire has also missed games due to concussion and rib injuries since making the move to Craven Park ahead of this season.
It is certainly not the start to his Robins career the decorated former Great Britain star had wanted after ending his career-long Leeds odyssey with a seventh Grand Final last term.
However, McGuire instantly showed his class in that win against Huddersfield with a superb kicking game while helping to control their attacking play in a much-needed success.
“I was really happy,” he said, in only his 11th appearance this term.
“I’d not played for a while so you’re a little bit rusty and I was pretty nervous actually.
“I wanted to go out there and do my bit for the team but I thought it was a good all-round performance really.
“Huddersfield had been on a little bit of a run, playing well and arrived confident but I thought we were the much better team.
“We created plenty of opportunities and probably could have scored a few more points as well.
“But I was happy for the team and personally really happy to be back out there; I thought I contributed pretty well for my first hit out.
“I’m loving my time here and I just want to finish the season off with some really good performances and see where we end up,” he said.
If Rovers can clinch successive Super League wins for the first time since 2015 tomorrow, they will at least rise a spot to replace Salford in 10th.
Whether they will then have enough time to climb up into the top eight, with just three more games remaining before the split, remains to be seen for the promoted club. Still, even if they do end up in the Qualifiers, with McGuire back to fitness along with captain Shaun Lunt, prop Robbie Mulhern and the new signing of Joel Tomkins, you sense they will have all the tools required to make sure they do not suffer an immediate relegation.
“We just have to look after ourselves to be honest and not look too far ahead,” insisted McGuire, with fixtures against bottom-placed Widnes Vikings in a week’s time, Warrington Wolves and Hull FC then remaining.
“We have a tough game against Salford and if we can win that game we can jump above them in the table. We’re not looking too far ahead; wherever we’ll be will be the case and we’ll knuckle down and get it sorted whatever.
“There’s a real good buzz about the place, we’re not far off a full squad now for the first time this season and the lads are enjoying what we’re doing.
“It’s important we get some momentum. I think it’s in the team, to be honest with you. I’ve not said much about it but if we can get some competition for places and a pretty settled one to 17 out there for a few weeks we’ll trouble a lot of teams.
“We have a good side and lads that are prepared to work hard for each other but we’ve just not been able to do that this year.”
Former Bradford Bulls back-row James Donaldson is expected to come in tomorrow after Chris Clarkson was left out of the 19-man squad with a chest infection.
Fellow forward Lee Jewitt has not recovered from a back issue either so Will Oakes and Will Dagger also come into contention.